Senators’ first jobs: 
Corker picked up trash, Cornyn pumped gas

Working in Congress can be tough, but it might be a breeze compared to some of the jobs lawmakers had before they came to the Capitol. With all the talk about the American Jobs Act, ITK wanted to know how some senators got their start.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynFirst US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Overnight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill MORE’s (R-Texas) first paying gig was pumping gas at a San Antonio station in high school.

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Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (D) put her swimming skills to use as a kid. “When I was 12 or 13, I started a little swimming clinic in my neighborhood,” says the Louisiana senator. Landrieu employed her best friend, whom she admits didn’t even know how to swim: “Her job was to sit by the side of the pool and tell me if any of the children went under the water, and I would save them.”

While Sen. John McCainJohn McCainExperts warn weapons gap is shrinking between US, Russia and China McCain delivers his own foreign policy speech Republicans who vow to never back Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) was busy delivering The Washington Post for his first gig, which he says with a smile “put me off on the wrong foot for the rest of my life,” Sen. Jack ReedJack ReedBill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims Pentagon: Russian military support for Assad remains strong Fears grow about rising US troop levels in Middle East MORE (D-R.I.) was getting up close and personal with plenty of pineapples, saying, “I think I was about 15 or 16 — my mother and my aunt came home and announced that they had gotten me a job at a fruit store.”

Despite her boss telling her she was “as green as grass,” Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) says her stint as a waitress at a family friend’s restaurant might have served as the perfect training ground for a future politician: “Part of being a waitress is that you have to approach people you don’t know, talk to them, engage them in conversation and make it worthwhile for them. That’s where I discovered I liked talking to people I don’t know.”

Snowe may have been handling food, but Sen. Dick Lugar was the one gathering it. The Indiana Republican remembers earning 10 cents an hour pulling volunteer corn out of the soybeans on his father’s farm.

And while some say politics can be a dirty business, Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe beginning of the end for Ted Cruz Graham: 'Lucifer may be the only person Trump can beat in a general election' Sunday shows preview: Cruz pulls out all the stops ahead of Indiana MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob CorkerBob CorkerIran and heavy water: Five things to know Trump seeks approval from foreign policy experts, but hits snags The Trail 2016: The establishment comes around MORE (R-Tenn.) know about cleaning up real messes. When he was 13, Corker was “picking up trash at a playground.” 

Graham also got his hands dirty as a janitor at Clemson University. The senator said he learned some important lessons from that summer job, including, “I’m not really good at getting up at 4:30 in the morning.” And as far as cleaning goes, Graham simply says, “That was not a good career path for me.”